Apple buys city transit guide HopStop, as it works to better Maps

Apple has acquired transit navigation service HopStop in a bid to improve the Maps app in iOS, according to a new report.

Bloomberg reported on Friday - citing unnamed people familiar with the deal - that Apple has agreed to buy HopStop. The news comes just a few hours after AllThingsD reported that Apple had acquired Locationary, a Toronto-based location data company.

HopStop, which has an app in both Apple's App Store and Google Play, provides detailed subway, bus, train, taxi, walking and biking directions in real-time for over 600 cities throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

The HopStop mobile apps specifically allow users to get directions while on the go or find nearby subway stations and bus stops. They can also use the service to plan a trip with multiple destinations, estimate travel time and cost for a taxi, see real-time alerts and planned service changes and view transit maps and schedules.

Public transit directions are notably absent in Apple's Maps app, so HopStop would be an ideal solution for the company and its mobile mapping experience. Apple purportedly also hopes to use Locationary as a way to build out its Maps app. The service - known as a Wikipedia-like product for maps - uses real-time data and could help Maps users to find and get directions for featured businesses.

Shortly after Apple's Maps app launched last autumn, CEO Tim Cook responded to criticisms and even recommended that consumers use alternative apps. Scott Forstall, who oversaw the app's development, reportedly didn't want to publicly apologise, which then led to his abrupt departure from the company.

Update: Apple has confirmed the HopStop deal with several publications.